Fr. James' Letters

October 29, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

The scene in our Gospel is like a WWF match: Jesus versus the Religious Authorities. First the Herodians step into the ring. They test Jesus by asking him about paying taxes to the Roman emperor. They start waving to the crowd and taunting Jesus, like they’ve got him beat. Jesus bests them by responding, “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” The Herodians limp out of the ring.

Next the Sadducees hop over the ropes, eager to body slam Jesus. They ask him about the afterlife. A woman has been married seven times… which husband will be hers in eternity? Jesus sidesteps the bodyslam. “At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.” The Sadducees roll off the mat.

Finally the big, bad Pharisees walk in. The crowd starts booing, as everyone by this point loves Jesus, but they ignore the scorn. Walking into the “squared circle” and taking off their cloaks to reveal their steroided pectorals (ok, I realize I’m getting carried away with the imagery here), they ask Jesus about the law. The law, after all, is their forte. Which law is the greatest, they ask? “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” responds Jesus. But then he adds, “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The Pharisees give Jesus his props and walk away. Christ wins. “No one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare to ask him any more questions,” Matthew ends the chapter. In the following chapter, which we’ll read next Sunday, Jesus will go on the offensive and take it to the Pharisees. Who said Scripture was boring?

We love Jesus, but I do think we act sometimes like these religious authorities. That is, we have questions of our Lord. We have problems with the way things are going. Why is there war in Israel? Why is there abortion? Why can’t my family get along? Why aren’t my children practicing their faith? Why is prayer difficult?

Jesus has answers to our questions. We have to stop and listen. The opening of the Shema, the greatest law that Jesus was quoting in his response to the Pharisees, is, “Hear, O Israel…” If we can ask our question and wait patiently for a response, we will surrender to our Lord. And surrender is victory.

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This Wednesday, November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints, a holy day of obligation. Our Mass schedule that day will be 6:25am, 8:30am, 10am (school), 12pm, and 7pm. All Masses will be in the upper church. The following day, Thursday, November 2nd, is the Feast of All Souls. In addition to the regular 6:25am and 8:30am Masses that day, we will have a special All Souls Remembrance Mass at 7pm, praying in particular for all the deceased from the previous year.

And because November is a month where we particularly pray for the repose of the souls of all the faithful departed, we will have throughout the month All Souls Remembrance Books in the church for you to write your intention. There will be a book located inside the church at the Mary Altar and another book in the back of the church in the vestibule.

Because of the holy day on Wednesday, there will be no Wednesday morning Scripture seminar at 9:15am. We will resume next Wednesday, November 8th.

This Friday, November 3rd, SPC School will be hosting its annual Trivia Night at 8pm in the gym. Thank you to all who organized the event, it’s always a fun gathering with some interesting table themes.

Finally, speaking of interesting themes and costumes, Happy Halloween. Be safe and enjoy your candy.

Yours in Christ,

Who is Fr. James?

Father James Wallace grew up in Winnetka, Illinois and attended Sts. Faith Hope and Charity grammar school, New Trier High School, and then The George Washington University in Washington DC, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 2007. He attended seminary at The Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained a priest in 2012 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In addition to being the pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, he serves as a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese, a dean in Vicariate II, and a professor of canon law and spiritual director at Mundelein Seminary. He is also one of the featured Mercy Home Sunday Mass celebrants, airing Sundays at 9:30am on WGN.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

UC = Upper Church
HFC = Holy Family Chapel 

Monday - Friday

6:25 am UC

8:30 am UC


8:30 am UC - weekday Mass

4:30 pm UC - vigil


7:30 am UC

9:00 am UC

10:30 am UC and HFC

12:00 pm UC